the lost blog
08 October 2014 | gulf of Maine
Genevieve and many other boats waited in Shelburne for seven days for the exact weather window to head out across the Gulf of Maine.
The film, the Scarlett letter with Demi Moore and Robert Duvall was filmed in this town so we rented the film on Netflix and yes there were all the buildings and scenery of Shelburne.
We explored the three museums in town; our favorite was the Dory Shop where they still make dories’ in many different sizes that you can purchase for $1k-6K depending on the length that you order. The craftsmanship is outstanding. They also sell “Whirligigs” and we couldn’t resist buying two fish for the front porch at home.
On Saturday night we attended the 33rd Ashbury Film Concert at the Osprey Arts center with Doris and Wolfgang. You can buy adult beverages and drink them at your seat. The atmosphere was very relaxed.
On the Friday evening locally produced films were judged at the Shelburne film festival and the finalists were presented on the Saturday night.
We had discussed leaving with NOMAD to do the crossing but as we well know, plans change sometimes for good reasons.
Doris and Wolf on NOMAD came by the boat to advise that they have decided not to go to Maine but will take advantage of the predicted wind for the next three days and head for Cape Cod. Another boat called NIAM is leaving as well. It is a cold miserable raining morning but they all say the winds are good to get to Cape Cod. It is sad to see them go, as we have become very good friends over the last seven days. They head out two hours before us.
After great debate and soul searching we are still undecided about which option we should embrace. The simplest option is to do the big leap and do a straight run from Shelburne to Bar Harbor. It is a 36-hour commitment but it will keep us out from shore and offers the path of least involvement with the tides and currents that we have been so cautioned about. The down side is we will need to keep watch for the entire crossing and the nights are cold. The other options shorten the crossing but require us to stop over at one or more of a variety of ports that wrap around the tip of Nova Scotia all of which require diligent timing and careful navigation. The further up the Bay of Fundy you go the greater the tides and current you need to contend with, it’s all doable, the debate is which is the most practical, safest and easiest route.
All kinds of boats, big and small make this crossing regularly and with a bit of planning and some good luck have an uneventful experience.
The terminology that we hear however has us a little intimidated. Waterfalls, 4 foot pot holes, whirlpools, tide against current, standing waves are all things that other sailors have experienced, horrific stories of near death experiences. As first timers we are not taking any chances.
After a series of good byes and well wishes we untie our lines and head out. The decision made is to go five miles out and to head straight for North East Harbour on Mount Desert Island.
September 07th PM
The sail is on and the rain has stopped. The mooring balls looked empty, as six boats had headed out for different locations that morning.
We are feeling confident and ready to tackle the 36-hour commitment. We leave Shelburne and head down the coast.
We intercept a radio call from NOMAD who is trying to reach the sail boat NIAM.
They do not respond so John and I jump in and switch to channel 68.
They advise that the winds off shore are much stronger than anticipated and have picked up around Cape Sable. That “wind against current is creating some very choppy water and with the wind on our nose we would be wise to wait until tomorrow if we can.
Good advice, so we turn back five miles and slip into Cape Negro to anchor. We leave Cape Negro at 10:30 AM the next morning with the outgoing tide and start the 30-hour sail to Northeast Harbour. Greg Ferraro please thank Ian for the safe harbor suggestion. He was also right about the lobster traps in Maine they are everywhere.
About 5 miles out we round Cape Sable at slack low tide and all is calm. We see several whales hundreds of birds and a few seals. With a full moon and favorable east winds blowing 15 Knots. We have a beautiful uneventful sail across the Gulf of Maine.
September 09th AM
As the sun rises we see the Appellation Mountains on the horizon and then in over two hundred feet of water and 20 miles out we see our first lobster trap. The closer we get to shore the more traps we see and soon they are everywhere. It’s ridiculous, we weave back and forth trying to find a clear path but there is none to be found. It is even difficult to find a spot to round up so we can drop our main sail, the traps are everywhere but at least the lines are weighted so they go straight down. Some are single lines but most have a retriever float attached to them and others have two floats incase one gets cut off by a passing prop. Its nerve racking trying to put the visual information together so you can figure out what is attached to what and which side to pass on.
September 09th PM
All is well. We are in Northeast Harbour Maine and it is beautiful. We need to clear customs and get our cruising permit. A floating dock at the northeast harbor marina is the best place to wait for the customs officer but at $2.65 a foot it hurts. Mega yachts and so many Hinckley’s surround us. We will move to a mooring ball tomorrow only $40.00 a night.
John talked to customs over the phone and she emailed the cruising permit for the year.
We wait for another hour and decided to check to see if they were coming and she says oh you are cleared, no visit necessary. We had purchased the US homeland security decal during the winter and that was our hassle free ticket in to the USA. .
She advised that she had all of our information from the decal and we were good to go.
No one came to the boat.
We spent the next day or so riding our bikes and checking the town out. The architecture and the cottages are fantastic and the weather is perfect. Checked out galleries and antique shops. We purchased a crane sculpture and an antique brass and copper oil lamp. Lots of fun.
We had a surprise visit from Trevor and Kim Bishop, our friends from Shediac (now living in Salt Spring Island in BC) who flew in for a wedding near Portland. They drove all the way from Boston to Northeast Harbour a five-six hour drive to visit with us. It was great to see them we had dinner and they ended up sleeping over on the boat.
We need to get our car from South Shore Marine near Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia. We were having a bit of trouble finding a car rental or shuttle bus so their timing is perfect. We decided as we always do in a whirlwind to hop in the car with Trevor and Kim and go to Portland and catch the ferry to Yarmouth. We book a cabin and slept away our night crossing the Bay of Fundy. John did find the casino and no he didn't win. The cabin and whole experience was terrific.
Renting a car in Yarmouth we drove to South Shore Marine where we picked up our car dropped them off a bottle of rum to thank them for letting us keep our car there then turned around and headed back to Yarmouth. It took about six hours round trip. We stayed at the Rodd Grand downtown not too bad; they will honor the lowest rate you find on the Internet so $86.00 plus taxes. Good to know. Same with the car rental book on line for $56.00 but if you call the lowest rate is $119. Seems unfair for those who don't use the Internet.
September 15, 2014
We are now back on the Ferry with our car to go to Portland. We will drive to Northeast Harbour where we will continue to plan where we are hauling out.
It’s a long trip and Moira decides to get a pedicure how civilized is that.
The drive back to Northeast harbour is interrupted with a detour to Freeport. We have talked to several people who insist that it is an outlet-shopping bonanza we must experience. I have never seen a town like it. It is pretty cool, every brand name you can think of laid out in a small town atmosphere, it’s like Disney land for shoppers and we get sucked in and search for bargains.
We head back to the car to find a $30.00 parking ticket. In our excitement we parked in a half hour zone. That sucked.